Finding Foods for Fasting Intermittently
The only "diet" that works goes deeper than you Think
Intermittent Fasting (IF) is the diet – that’s not actually a diet – which works for athletes and some non-athletes, especially if you find smart foods for fasting!
I’d know from first hand experience.
Over seventeen years, I’ve come across every mainstream diet there is.
Whole30 diets, Paleo diets, ketogenic diets, Zone diets and the like have drawn my ire for one unifying reason: they fail you.
These diets fail you because:
- they restrict processing of habits,
- cause major binge relapsing
- restrict too many calories and
- constrict food choices in favor of ease
Without prejudice, I hold them all in hard-line contempt.
Tiff, my curvaceous newly-wed bandied the keto diets’ proverbs for years until we met and she admitted she could never keep weight off.
Elaine, the tech project manager with Hashimoto’s could not understand why her weight buoyed like wayward flotsam caught in the Tradewinds. Her keto diet too was to blame.
Jenny and Lily both suffered the Whole30 and keto’s ephemeral promises and this is why I have the hardest time watching you, and so many like you, trip up at the suggestion of a new diet.
But, there is hope for athletes and exercisers to find the greatest health benefits instead of dieting if you are willing to work at being hungry.
And believe me, being hungry is not the painful anathema diet industries have you believe – it’s good for you.
Behold Intermittent fasting and the “diet” that does not hurt you.
Well, let’s discuss why you might consider finding foods foods for fasting IF, instead of ridding your pantry of the stuff you love to eat – because when the diets fail, we have to address your behavioral habits.
Intermittent fasting, more so for non-athletes, actually forces us to
- take meaningful looks at our eating habits – such as when to eat, what to snack on, and the primary reasons is done correctly –
- you consume fewer than BASE calories
- you avoid binging.
Foods for fasting Intermittently
Again, IF is about being okay with hunger.
This has varying results on your weight loss, body fat loss and eating habits.
So, IF might be the only “diet” (it is not really a diet) which aids you in your weight loss journey. And, if this is true, we need to understand:
- Diets are about eliminating foods
- This is not a diet, because we are trying to include foods
- Diets imply hunger is bad
- Hunger is not anathema to weight loss, cutting out food choices is
Thus, we are adding foods into your meal plan so that we can IF successfully. And ofcourse, I’ll help you decide what type of IF we need.
So, foods for fasting intermittently include those foods which sustain us over the long term during a 16ish hour fast.
Preliminary Foods for Fasting Plan
Your food for fasting meal plan includes:
- Foods high in protein, dense with calories
- In higher percentages
- Yogurts – kefir, skyr, “Noosa”
- Chickpeas, nut butters, peas, tofu
- Turkey meat
- Lean fish
- In higher percentages
- Meals are lower in sugar but higher in complex carbs
- One piece of fruit
- Apples, kiwis, pears, bananas, etc.
- Avoid teas unless it’s peppermint of caffeine-free | why reinforce your hunger?
- Complex carbs
- Buckwheat noodles/waffles
- Polenta/porridge/congee/flap jacks
- Sweet potato/yams
- VEGGIES – assorted
- One piece of fruit
- High fiber must be added in AND throughout the process
- Fiber has no calories
- Wheat grasses
- Salads – from spinach and kale and butter lettuce
- Green drinks and smoothies with no added sugar
- Fiber has no calories
Of course, there are endless amounts of foods for fasting out in the regular world. Get used to the basic ideas that you will be hungry.
Still, know that you can consume fiber – most of us do not eat enough anyways (RDA = 25 grams per day), according to all major nutrition sources but also to “Closing America’s Fiber Intake Gap” by Diane Quagliani, MBA, RDN, LDN and Patricia Felt-Gunderson.
You will notice I mention hunger quite a bit. That’s because, as I’ve noticed over decades in fitness and working with hundreds of people, y’all fear being hungry!
Instead, embrace hunger.
8 Foods for Fasting and Sustain Energy
Juice them! These are your high fiber (2.1 gram per tbsp.) protein options for filler. Nothing breaks a fast better. Nothing.
Dense with protein, these are snack able as hard boiled portables and only four give you more than 20 grams of protein.
Chicken & turkey Jerky
Dense of protein and very low in fat, these are your go for post workout or pre-sixteen hour fast. Perfect food for fasting and snack-able and protein dense which keep you full and your body in anabolism for longer.
Pumpkin seeds & dried Soybeans
Protein rich additions to a smoothie or salad make lunchtime or afternoon fasting successful! And, these two foods have more than 1 gram of valine and isoleucine – two Branch Chain AA’s which support recovery.
Buckwheat – as noodles or any form
Buckwheat is gluten-free and a heavy complex carbohydrate food. It’s comprised of almost zero simple sugars and even has some protein. A perfect dinnertime meal for morning fasts.
Kefir and Australian yogurt
Another higher protein food for fasting – kefir’s strong taste and liquid consistency make a great shake while Aussie yogurt has quality fats within. A simple lunch that’s nutrient dense.
You will need a higher source of fiber when choosing foods for fasting. They keep you fuller and that last thing you’ll need is a deficitof fiber after fasting.
Intermittent Fasting Foods Basics
Types of intermittent Fasting
Let’s go over the types of intermittent fasting which I have discovered by research or anecdotally. In other words, I will not regurgitate the pseudo-science or musings of other diet progenitors here.
But the idea that all IF methods actually heal and help or work for athletes is absolute anathema.
So I will only mention the depreciated forms of Intermittent Fasting which I would never recommend to anyone first, because they do exist:
- Intermittent calorie restriction (ICR)
- Where you consume calories below your BASE for a period of time (within a week)
- Prolonged fasting
- NO or VERY LITTLE consumption for a full day or two
As I mentioned in the video above, there are so many negatives and negative habits involved with these two IF methods:
- BINGING post fast
- Decreased performance for exercise
- Restricted food choices for ICR
- Deleterious effects of fasting past 24 or so hours.
Two viable Intermittent Fasting Types
- 1/1 Alternate day fasting (One day “eating – ad lib” with next day fasting 40%-60%)
- 16:8 or “starve most of the day” fasting
Also, we should consider that there a number of reasons why people fast on purpose
- Weight control and weight loss
- Metabolic purposes
What is hunger, really
Behind hunger, there are a LOT of forces which tug at our homeostasis with regularity.
For example, “fullness” molecules and hormone levels are circulating and their counterparts are absent in higher concentrations.
Externally, you feel great – satiated and satisfied.
Hunger molecules, signals and pheromones make you antsy, give us pangs and create an “empty” feeling at first. And that’s great – it’s called survival instinct.
What really goes on with your hunger?
- Time of the day
- Social cues from other people
- Sensory perception of food
- Breaks in the work day
- Post-meal time in the day
- Circadian rhythm and sleep pattern
- Hydration habits
- Empty plates, baggies, snack dishes et al.
Between these external signals which have to do with our interaction with the world, for example, if it’s lunchtime and others are about to eat versus not, and the internal experience of hunger, we either eat or skip meals.
Alternate day fasting 1/1
Know this now:
Personally, I never advocate eating under 1100 calories per day.
If you do, talk to a dietician.
Still, if that dietician subscribes to this plan – you best be working out on top of it meaning: for every day you eat 1100 calories, you must have a ABASE or BASE of about 2700 calories per day.
IF for alternating days will be increasingly difficult for you if you consume less than 1100 calories per day.
Consider those who’s Adjusted BASE calories are 2700 or even more
- Are more than 150 or so pounds and burn 900 calories per day working out
- Your ABASE will be about 2600 per day
- More than 200 pounds and burn about 700 calories per day
- Your ABASE will be about 2600-3000 per day
- Are more than 270 pounds and at a BMI of > 29.9 (yes, the BMI for athletes is quite faulty and useless)
- Your BASE will be about 3000 per day
Is this you?
If so, you can alternate days.
If not, you are risking a buoying effect on your eating which I would never condone – instead, there are other strategies you must employ, like protein staggering or averaging.
As above, a minimum of a ABASE of about 2700 calories – which means you are going to eat 40% (minimum) to fast or about 1100 calories.
Now, if you want to try a stagger, you can eat more – like 50% or 60% and reduce your calories burned.
If you or your friend is a 5’7″ woman who will not be working out on the fast day (more on why your shouldn’t below), who weighs about 168 pounds, you might have a BASE around 1660 calories.
Consuming 40% of this means eating 664 calories.
Which is far too low for people to eat and change your habit successfully.
Real World Experience
According to my friend Marlon, a veteran trainer, medalist in Judo and credentialed coach, one can simply stop eating after breakfast for a full day and then resume the next day as normal.
And, considering his pedigree, I stood in front of my both trainees slamming the erstwhile concrete to death with medicine balls destined for the rubber factory, stiff, baffled why he’d recommend starvation and not even to his trainees.
We’d gotten to comfortable, I thought, time to reset boundaries here before they concede.
But, I thought about it – most athletes’ bodies are fat burning powerhouses anyways. And considering most of us are sitting here, burning fat, I figured there must be a reason for this blaspheme.
Science behind alternate days for weight loss
Alternate days for intermittent fasting mean you are look to manage your weight in some capacity.
As you awaken each day, your body is burning fat at rest at a rate of 100%
It also ensures you reserve fats for the greatest source of calories.
Essentially this is the most efficient your body will be during activity.
Alternating days ideally means you spend Days 1,3 and 5 fasting. Of course, you will choose the best foods for fasting intermittently and probably choose your workouts with efficiency.
If the above conditions are met, you need more conditions:
- Macro ratios must be met for weight loss.
- Binging must be avoided
- You need complete proteins and all vitamins
Habits behind choosing Foods for fasting : 1/1 alternating days
- Forgetting to or neglecting to eat breakfast is a performance no-no on every level.
- And, I always notice those with the steepest uphill battle with their weight loss or body fat loss journeys, skip breakfast
- Closet snacking and forgetting to report
- Disconnecting from the act of eating is common and dedicating to skipping food all day promotes closet eating when forced to report food logs
- Staying hydrated
- Potentially, you can stay more hydrated, I assume, as hunger pangs turn into thirst pangs.
- Low focus and low energy levels
Understand:16 is the amount of time you will spend starving and not inside the throes of satisfaction.
If you can manage, this becomes the most palatable way to fast.
Lot’s of my trainees have suggested to me that they could try fasting. When they do, the suggest this type of fast – the most feasible, the most doable on day 1.
The path to successful weight loss is best view from the vantage of only being hunger for part of one day instead of all of one.
And, I more advocate eating breakfast – always – thus at 16:8 which you stop eating after a certain point in the day until the morning, adheres to smarter food habits.
Both of the following methods are deployments on your eating habits. This means the changes you make will result in a reduction in calories and an awareness in your hunger.
As such, you might have the best success with these methods!
Let’s start with the sipping of breakfast first.
Eat after lunch, skip mornings and breakfast
A word on this: most chronic dieters already feel skipping breakfast and fasted cardio is the best for fat burning.
Largely, you could prove this scientifically, after all, you burn fat in your sleep.
Still, elevating your oxygen debt then burning fat and calories is the consummate and smart means to lose weight.
habits for 16:8 – method 1
- Workout after your second meal, not fasted
- If you do workout fasted, make your first snack your primary meal.
- Eat bigger in the opening meal than the rest of the day to avoid binging
- Consume fiber earlier in the day
Eat breakfast, “lunch” and skip dinner
Considering I am a proponent of big dinners but a bigger lover of breakfast for weight loss, this is the better way to go for me.
Habits for 16:8 – Method 2
- Workout about an hour after your final eating plan.
- Get 7-8 hours of sleep
- SLEEP WELL!
- Consume protein AND simple sugars as your last meal of the day
- Promotes evening awareness of hunger
- Demotes late-night binging and late snacking
- Promotes breakfast engagement
Science behind the 16:8
Decreases in insulin mean decreases in fat mobilization. Which often, especially in the niche world of the bodybuilder, means fat storage.
Breaking down glycogen for the replacement of resting blood glucose occurs. This is never typically a desired outcome for most people. Athletes, however, will overcome this “hit” to the blood sugar.
When I say athlete, I mean, veteran exercisers who spend hours and hours in the gym each week.
Increase in FFA
Free fatty acids with are not part of the adipoctye is typically sued for metabolism.
These FFA’s are the force of metabolism of short, medium and long chain fatty acids. Some people purposefully buy MCT oils, consume goat milk, diary and coconut oil in order of FFA status.
In total, at this point, we see there is a highly metabolic net positive for fasting for 16 hours.
Habits behind choosing foods for fasting: 16:8
- When I perform this type of fast, it’s “inadvertent” usually, because I simply am listening to my body
- Most athletes will vary their eating accordingly every not and then
- Eating this way can make your breakfast choices more aware
- Choosing which foods you must eat to shore up your energy stores for the full day is helpful
- Again, might promote binging
- Promotes hydration (water)
- With properly timed workouts, you can fuel a workout and feel great
- Lack of recovery snack to buffer weight training gains
Intermittent fasting is either another brilliantly flawed diet or a smart introspective on your eating habits! Make it the latter by choosing not to starve yourself and picking foods for fasting which are protein dense.
Instead, choose to remain hungry because hunger is not a bad experience in weight loss, not matter what . In fact, certain types of IF help you identify with your hunger instead of doing anything to quell it.
Some types of IF have you alternating days, This only supports a certain body type and metabolic output of some people. If you are shorter, average weight and workout ALOT – about 900 calories for the day burned – you could IF and alternating days, smartly at 50% consumption.
However, if you are not over 265-ish pounds or do not workout a lot, alternating days of al lib eating and fasting are awful for you!
This is because you end up eating about < 1100 calories for the day which I never condone.
Furthermore, you could stagger your intake to improve efficacy.
With 16:8, you have two choices. With either one, you then will need to understand which foods for fasting strategies work best for you!